Posts Tagged With: Fly Fishing

Struck Dumb

Having spent countless hours watching others fly fish, I can say I’ve learned a thing or two from the anglers of Fish in a Barrel Pond. More than the same old tips, tricks and “wisdom” that most of us have heard a hundred times before, a lot of what I pick up is subtle and nuanced, yet profound, and a few of these gems go so far as to challenge some of my most cherished and long-held fly fishing assumptions.

For example, in my previous post, “Halfway Through the Season,” I stood firm in my belief that when a man hands me a highball glass and asks me what the heck a guy has to do to catch fish around here, the proper response is to declare myself no expert but suggest that it probably doesn’t involve highball glasses.

My position wavered not, even when the situation was complicated by the fact that the man in question was also in his underwear, but my stance has since softened. Sooner or later, one is bound to see it all and, thanks to a kindly proctologist from the Cape, I now know that a man drinking Scotch in his underwear is just as likely as the next guy to catch a fish, as long as there’s a rod in his hand and he’s got a fly on the water.

The anglers of Fish in a Barrel Pond are not the only things that leave me speechless. Here are this year’s Obligatory Vermont Fall Foliage Photos (click one to enlarge or view as a slide show):

 

 

 

Categories: Fly Fishing, Humor, nature, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Halfway Through the Season

I am willing to admit that, when a man uses “finger quotes” for the fifth time, explaining why the “rules” don’t apply to him, a quick left jab to the nose may not be the best response, even if it seems perfectly appropriate at the time.

I am also willing to admit that, when on the way to stupid, pain-in-the-ass, court-ordered anger management classes, taking it out by swerving into a group of young turkeys on the shoulder of Route 5 might come across as a tad offensive to some.

I will even concede that, when a real judge suggests a little “cooling off and drying out time,” a stay at Detox Mansion might not be such a bad idea, even if it might mean doing yard work with Liza Minnelli.

Each of those statements is true but none are applicable to this season at Fish in a Barrel Pond (so far). No one has been punched in the nose (yet) or been to court and ordered into behavior modification, no turkeys were harmed in the making up of this nonsense and, I assure you, Quill Gordon’s Steel-Toed Drinking Shoes remain laced, all the way to the top.

The ice went out and the loons returned. The large black and white aquatic birds came back, too. It’s been all anglers, all the time, following pretty much the same script as every year, except for the 18 hours I spent spiraling in the vortex of airport Hell that is United Airlines in Houston, or being struck by the thought that I, of all people, could arrive late, find my way through a throng of thousands from one terminal to another in Chicago, and catch a flight with just seconds to spare while a man from (name any city) can barely find his way around an old camp in Vermont measuring 20′ x 20′.

Six times in the last 12 weeks posts have been started and not finished, leaving three people wondering what might have happened to Quill Gordon. The truth involves discussing feelings and emotions and such so, when people ask, I just let them go on thinking I’ve been raking leaves with Liza.

lucky1

Lucky, I guess.

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Categories: +Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Here We Go Again

Fish in a Barrel Pond, April 20, 2014

Fish in a Barrel Pond, April 20, 2014

An entire winter’s worth of snow slowly condensed into a thick layer of ice, sitting on lake ice that formed in December. With less than a week before Opening Day, there was nothing to be done about the ice but hope it would go out in time. Meanwhile, there were camps to prepare, repair, and otherwise make ready for the upcoming season.

Fish in a Barrel Pond, April  21, 2014

Fish in a Barrel Pond, April 21, 2014

Woodland creatures were evicted, floors were swept, and beds were made, as if there were no ice at all (other than in the usual low spots in water lines) and, while anxious anglers left messages asking about the lake, cussing and banging gave way to sighs of relief at the sound of trickling faucets. Continue reading

Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Fly Fishing, nature, Vermont | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Flashback Friday: Fly Fishing Time

south bend

 

Weeks away? More like days. Opening Day at Fish in a Barrel Pond is next weekend, provided the ice goes off the pond and I can get the camps up and running again (See Quill Gordon and The Nonesuch Mountain Howler). Every day I find a string of messages from angst-filled anglers asking about the ice and if they will be able to fish in a week but I have yet to hear someone (other than my supervisor) ask if the faucets flow and toilets flush or if the woodland creatures have been evicted from beneath the beds. My head is sore from knocking on wood but every year the ice goes out and the camps open on time.

The ad above appeared in the April 1948 issue of Outdoorsman magazine. From the first trout to the last fightin’ bass, South Bend was there to make your sport complete. With split bamboo rods starting at $16 and nifty automatic reels for $10, an angler could still splurge on a nice double taper line and be fishing for $35! It is a virtual certainty that at some point in the season someone is going to show me a new rod that cost what I make in a month and tell me “you get what you pay for.” It’s also a good bet that same guy will be the one who asks who to speak to about the fishing around here.

Today’s dollar is a different animal than the dollar of 1948, and today’s anglers are different, too. Or are they?

masland

The weather on Opening Day can be as unpredictable as the fishing but C.H. Masland & Sons had every angle and angler covered in 1948. Their handy “opening day check list” consisted entirely of clothing items from their catalog, for all kinds of weather, including a nylon rain cape, knee-length for the same price as a South Bend reel.

One of the best things about C.H. Masland ads from the late 1940s was the cartoon at the top of each one. Illustrator Tom Rost (1909-2004) began his series of “Opening Day” hunting and fishing cartoons while at the Milwaukee Journal in the late 1930s, after a stint as an artist with the Civilian Conservation Corps (two of his watercolors were purchased by Eleanor Roosevelt as a Christmas gift to FDR in 1937). He enjoyed a long association with Field & Stream and other wildlife magazines and had a very successful career as an illustrator and artist.

I just can’t imagine where he ever came up with the things he included in those Opening Day cartoons.

Opening Day 1948

Opening Day 1948

Opening Day 1947

All of us at The View from Fish in a Barrel Pond wish everyone out there the most successful of Opening Days, no matter the weather or the cost of their rod. Of course, the definition of “successful” will vary from angler to angler; Quill Gordon will be happy if the toilets flush.

 

 

Categories: Flashback Fridays, Fly Fishing, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fishing Fools

It certainly has been an unusual year, and it all started when my friend Eugene (see Careful with that Axe, Eugene) told me of a fish he had seen. Even allowing for his usual inflation percentages I had a hard time believing him when he described its immense size. Certain that between the two of us we could catch any fish that ever swam, I went along with his plan to hook this behemoth, hoping at least to prove the outrageous nature of his exaggeration.

Only one bait would do for a fish such as the one Eugene described and I knew it was best to gather such bait early, before the warmth of the sun made them active and more difficult to subdue. Starting at noon was certainly not to our advantage but it was good sport nonetheless and it wasn’t long before we had a good supply.

Gathering Bait

Gathering Bait

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Categories: Fly Fishing, Humor, Stories About My Good Friend, Eugene | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Flashback Friday: Size Matters

A better writer than I once wrote something about the measure of an angler being not how large a fish he or she can catch but how small a fish he or she can catch without being disappointed. I think it was John Gierach, whose forthcoming book is titled, “All Fishermen are Liars.”

Another writer, better than anyone ever, is credited with something to do with never lying about the fishing where others know you but especially never lying about the fishing where others know the fish. That was Mark Twain, who was pretty sure all men, fishermen or not, are liars.

fish ruler

Overstatement, exaggeration and embellishment are vital components of our fishing heritage and culture. With a wink and a nod, we chuckle at what a bunch of good-natured rascals we are, telling all those stories like we do, as did our grandfathers and others who have gone before. Telling lies is a time-honored tradition of our sport and some of us find it no great insult to be called a pack of liars. Continue reading

Categories: Flashback Fridays, Fly Fishing, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

Flashback Friday: Late, but with Appropriate Shoes

It’s surprising how scuffed the back of a magazine can become when it spends six months in a pile, waiting to be photographed for a blog post, especially considering the fact that I have magazines in better shape that were printed 70 or more years ago. Some things are just not made to last anymore, or at least stand up to normal use, and I’m pretty sure the guy in this Louis Vuitton ad is about to ruin his shoes. If his shoes aren’t ruined by the water flowing over those rocks his suit will be ruined for sure if he takes another step, not to mention the damage to his coccyx .

Louis Vuitton shoes

Not that those shoes are intended for use as suggested by this ad, unless they have fancy aluminum crampon bars attached to the soles, but even then their finish would surely be marred. While it might be hard for some to imagine a reasonable person wearing those shoes anywhere but to the office or a funeral, my experience at Fish in a Barrel Pond is with fly fishers, not reasonable people. Continue reading

Categories: Flashback Fridays, Fly Fishing, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Flashback Friday: The Clark Fork in Montana, and a Magic Trick!

One thing often leads to another or, as is the case today, a couple of things led to other things, thanks to an article by Joe Brooks in the October, 1964, issue of Field & Stream magazine titled, “River With a Past…and a Future.”

The Clark Fork of the Columbia in Montana

The Clark Fork of the Columbia in Montana

The Clark Fork of the Columbia River in Montana was, as late as 1955, classified by the Montana Water Pollution Control Council as an “industrial river” and unfit for use by the public. The water was dead, poisoned by waste from the copper mines outside of Butte and the smelter at Anaconda. Driving along the river on U.S. Highway 10 every summer, Joe Brooks groaned at the sight of all that water that couldn’t support life as he made his way to fish above the Clark Fork in waters such as Rock Creek.

In 1964, word began to spread that fish were once again being caught as far upstream as Drummond, 50 miles closer to the source of the pollution than before (but still more than 50 miles away from it).  Encouraged by a friend to give the Clark Fork a whirl one day, Joe and his wife, Mary, brought in a “total of eighteen fish with an average weight of three pounds, a score we’ve seldom matched anywhere.”

That evening, back in the comfort of Rock Creek Lodge, their experience was confirmed by De Yip Louie, a magician performing at the fair in Missoula, who had just had his picture taken for the Missoula paper with a 4-pound, 12-ounce, trout he’d caught that morning. Joe Brooks took his picture for Field & Stream with a 2-pound rainbow.

"Magician De Yip Louie pulled this 2-pound rainbow trout out of the Clark Fork and not out of his bag of tricks."

“Magician De Yip Louie pulled this 2-pound rainbow trout out of the Clark Fork and not out of his bag of tricks.”

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Categories: Flashback Fridays | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Flashback Friday: Phoning It In

Some people think the most important day of the year for the anglers of Fish in a Barrel Pond is Opening Day, in late April, as long as the ice is out.

Those people are wrong.

Seasoned members of the Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society know the most important day of the year is the second Saturday of February, the day they can start making reservations for the upcoming season.

It's Easy to Call Ahead!

Call by number! It’s twice as fast!

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Categories: +The Neverwas Nonesuch Angling Society, Flashback Fridays, Fly Fishing, Humor | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

The Cremation of MMXIII

(To the delight of some and the consternation of others, this is not Part II of our tribute to Forgotten Fly Fishing Legend Little Dickie Conroy. That particular dispatch will appear shortly, just as soon as our top-notch research staff has finished making stuff up reviewing source materials.)

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A symbolic bonfire is an appropriate and sometimes exciting way to bid farewell and good riddance to the old year. It can also extend a warm welcome to the new year and serve to celebrate the gradual lengthening of days in the midst of a long winter slog. A spontaneous attempt was made to light such a fire three weeks ago, using a very large pile of brush, which was crusted with ice and covered in snow. Despite the use of various accelerants, the effort had to be abandoned and, while someone might have had a good chuckle at the time, someone else came out of the deal with nothing more to show than some ironic burn-holes in his raincoat and a hat that smelled like diesel fuel.

Symbolic, perhaps, but not what we would consider appropriate.

Several attempts since have yielded similar results but we’re sure to get a good one going sooner or later to serve as the symbolic cremation of MMXIII. In the meantime, here is a photo of a fire from a previous post, “The Cremation of MMX” (rest assured that the surprised-looking man in the foreground had no hair to begin with and was just fine):

Quill Gordon Shows How It's Done

Quill Gordon Shows How It’s Done

For the purposes of this post, the fire will be metaphorical, and the brush to be burned is a few things found laying around in the form of notes and half-started nonsense. This should lessen the chances of someone flapping and running, chased by a ribbon of flame, while everyone else hollers, “Drop the can! Continue reading

Categories: Humor, Winter | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

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